by Mike Stark, Fri May 18, 2007 at 08:31:12 AM EDT
Mike Stark here: This is another of John Javna's Hero series. We awarded $1,000 to Amanda for her courage in the face of an irresponsible media; standing up to Bill Donohue's lackies on the fringe Fox network, and then, soon afterwards, in the more mainstream media took guts.
We'll have another story to tell soon. Please look out for it.
Now, over to John:
Imagine this: You're a liberal blogger with a fairly well-known web site. You're proud of your work online, but of course, you don't make any money at it. To pay the rent, you work at the University of Texas, in Austin, as a financial aid counselor.
One day in January you're sitting at your desk when a man who claims to work for the John Edwards campaign reaches you on the phone.
Caller:"Is this (your name here)"?
You: "Yep. What can I do for you?"
Caller:"I'm a consultant with 'John Edwards for President.' We've been running a blog, and we need a blogmaster to take over the whole operation. People tell us you're the person for the job. Would you be interested? Can you move to North Carolina right away?"
Your first reaction is: "This is a hoax... a practical joke." But you stay cool and simply promise to "think about it." Then you hang up... and immediately call a few friends who volunteer for Edwards. To your astonishment, they verify the whole story. You're floored. Not only is Edwards the guy you like best in the flock of Democrats, but frankly, you've never imagined you could make a living at blogging. And now you're not only going to be employed at it full-time, you'll be starting at the top. It has "a kind of fairytale aspect to it," you confess later to a reporter.
If all this sounds too good to be true, well...it is. The fairy tale will turn out to be more like a nightmare--the most traumatic thing that's ever happened to 29-year-old Amanda Marcotte.
Marcotte, proprietor of the Pandagon site, didn't say yes right away. "It was a big decision whether to move, because I loved where I lived," she says. "Plus, I'm not usually a big risk-taker. I asked the Edwards campaign, `How long will the job last?' and they said, `Think of it this way: It`s early in the campaign, and there's no way it won't last at least a year--at least until the primaries, and maybe longer.' That seemed fair... and this was such a big opportunity -- everyone around me was saying, `Oh you've got to take it.'... Even my parents, who are right-wing Texas Republicans, were encouraging. Of course, they liked the fact that it was straight job with career possibilities. But it turns out they actually like John Edwards, too. I guess he has a lot of charm."